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Stuart Hordern
11 April 2024 | Vineyard, Winemaking | Stuart Hordern

Vintage 2024 - Wrap Up

Brokenwood Vintage 2024

It is with some embarrassment that this is only my second vintage update, yet we pressed our last red off late last week. This speaks to the incredibly compact nature of Vintage 2024 and the speed at which our vineyards across Australia ripened. As always, the timing of Easter is a significant driver of our season. In an average year, we have most, if not all, of our fruit harvested by Easter, and this year was no exception, with the very last of both Beechworth and McLaren Vale being harvested the week of Easter. This is despite Easter falling three weeks earlier than 2023.

Across the Hunter, yields across all varieties were lower than average. Semillon was particularly impacted, with the preceding three wet winters (2020, 21 & 22) and a historically dry 2023 Winter all taking their toll on vine health and yield. Oakey Creek Vineyard suffered more than most; these seasonal conditions, coupled with the previously mentioned hailstorm in November, severely impacted yield. Despite this, we will have a complete make of Single Vineyard Semillons, with the early favourites being Tallawanta, a small make of Oakey Creek and, of course, our Hunter Valley Semillon blend.

In my earlier update, I spoke about the warm, dry weather forecast towards the second half of January. This certainly delivered, and our Hunter Shiraz came on quite quickly. This was due to a combination of this late January heat and smaller yields due to the dry winter. Our Shiraz came in at optimum ripeness with good natural chemistry considering the late heat. Most of our Shiraz landed in the winery at 13.8-14.4 baumé, which we have not had since 2019. Despite the low yields across the valley, our reds held up better than the whites. Yields on our better blocks are higher than in 2023. This speaks to the quality of our single vineyard sites along with the hard work of Kat, Fletch & Remy. The last of our Hunter Shiraz was harvested on the 5th of February, the earliest I have finished harvest here in the Hunter. In the very early days, the highlights are Graveyard Vineyard and the best mistress that we have seen in several years.

The incredibly compact Hunter harvest made for a real baptism of fire for the Vintage Cru, with almost the entire harvest completed in an intense three-week period. Kate, Loz and the Cru handled this with aplomb, and the results of their effort will be evident when our 2024 wines are released.

We had a rare, brief lull, which allowed us to catch our breath before Hayden, Hugh and Charles headed down to Beechworth. It has been a particularly challenging season at Indigo this year; a remarkably late, hard frost hit the vineyard in the first week of November, which impacted all varieties across the vineyard. The early varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, were badly impacted. Yield was reduced by as much as 75% in some blocks. The wines we have made are of their usual high standard, but volumes of our Single Vineyard wines will be severely restricted from 2024.

McLaren Vale had an excellent season with a warm, dry growing season with healthy yields. Rayner, Clarendon, and Wade Block 2 Vineyards were harvested close to their historic average harvest dates, are of their usual high quality, and are in good volumes.

Whilst low yields have been a feature of the season, we have secured a couple of new vineyards that we are confident are of single vineyard quality. The first is a Chardonnay from the Wondalma Vineyard in Tumbarumba; this vineyard is over 30 years of age and has supplied fruit to both Penfold’s and Hardy’s for their flagship Chardonnays. The pedigree of this site is outstanding, and I look forward to seeing how the wines develop in barrel. I have also secured a small parcel of Riesling from one of the coolest sites in Orange. I am pretty excited by this block, as I have been trying to get my hands on some of this fruit for a number of years, and whilst still fermenting at present, it looks very promising.

All in all, it was a high-quality harvest, albeit without the volume of Single Vineyard wines that we would have hoped. The Vineyard and Winery Cru will now catch our breath and look forward with optimism to Vintage 2025.


Stuart Hordern
Chief Winemaker

Images from Vintage 2024 in the Hunter Valley. Captured by MJK Creative.


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